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A few more important points

Reader comment on item: What If the United States Had Not Invaded Iraq

Submitted by Josh G (Israel), Sep 12, 2005 at 04:57

Prof. Pipes can generally be counted upon to provide thorough, on-the-mark, and balanced analyses. However, this time I wonder why he did not raise some important points:

(1) Iran: The militarily induced regime change in Iraq has allowed Iran and its followers (e.g. Hizbollah) and possibly those with common interests (e.g. Al Qaeda) to gain a foothold in Iraq. This is probably the very largest problem of all. Nobody loved Saddam, but he did help keep Iran in check.

(2) Cost: The monstrous and as-yet unbounded financial cost of the military operation, and its huge impact on the US' ability to maintain military and counter-terrorist operations in other theaters around the world (and within her own borders).

Not to mention, as well:

(3) Decline in US' credibility - Of course, this was more linked to the stories the US Administration told to justify the war, rather than the act of going to war.

(4) The sum of all of these effects - Now it will be much harder for the US, politically, to mount similar offensives anywhere in the world. A lot of governments and their citizens - including Americans - will remember the lies to the UN, scandals such as Abu Gharaib, the continuing (and increasing) terror in the streets of Iraq, etc.

It would also have been helpful for Prof. Pipes to analyze "What if the US had waged a limited war in Iraq?". We could have removed Saddam and the Baathists, and then either left the country or simply withdrawn from Baghdad, perhaps to fix problems in Iran, Syria, etc. It would be interesting to know his views on such.
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